Holotropic Breathwork is one of the most important methods of Transpersonal Psychology. The term was formed by Stan Grof in the 1970s and the method was developed and significantly shaped by him. Together with his first wife Christina, Stan developed a method from research with psychedelics and ancient yogic breathing techniques that is very effective in producing altered states of consciousness. The method is suitable for re-encountering, accepting and integrating severe traumatic experiences of one’s life history in a trauma-free space. Transformation always takes place where one’s own, often unconscious shadow parts can be seen, appreciated and accepted. The space in a holotropic breathing session offers a good opportunity for this.
Often one experiences archetypal experiences, perinatal, mystical or deeply energetic experiences are also possible. In a breathing session, the experiencer follows his or her own deep inner wisdom and engages with the process that wants to show up in that moment. Accompanied by a sitter and embedded in the group, the breathing process is supported by evocative music. First steps of integration into everyday life are encouraged through a group exchange and creative expression directly after the process. Stan Grof deeply interwove this method with his expertise as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, thus significantly shaping transpersonal psychology and psychotherapy and advocating a holistic approach in which psyche and cosmos are inextricably interwoven.
From this, various practices have developed that use and apply this method. In particular, Holotropic Breathwork is used today as an umbrella term for various techniques that often have little to do with the setting originally developed by Stan Grof. For the client it is often difficult to filter out which provider works seriously. We recommend to make sure that at least one of the leaders has completed a profound training in this field. As a rule, such training takes 3 to 4 years. From personal experience we can recommend all the training courses offered by IHTP (formerly ÖATP) from Austria and IIBP from Germany. These institutes are led by Dr. Sylvester Walch with team and Rainer Pervöltz/Ingo Jahrsetz with team. Since 2022 the IHTP is under the direction of Dr. Hans Peter Weidinger.
In any case we recommend to arrange a preliminary talk and to clarify open questions about the method, the process or the professional background of the leadership team.
We combine Holotropic Breathwork with spiritual practice. The deep experiences from the breathing sessions are deepened in silent and guided meditations and first integration steps into everyday life take place.